Back in 2005, Avatar Press bought the licensing rights to Friday The 13th, and published a string of comics featuring everyone’s favorite undead unstoppable killing machine, Jason Voorhees, before the license expired and was eventually sold to DC/Wildstorm. They enlisted Brian Pulido (the dude who created Lady Death and Evil Ernie, among others) to write the stories, and Mike Wolfer to draw them. First up was this 22-page one-shot issue.
It’s night time, May 13th 2005 (yes, that was a Friday), and a couple of teenagers are parked in a van on the side of the rode, in the middle of the woods around Crystal Lake (strangely written and referred to as “Lake Crystal”, throughout most of the story), they’re in the backseat making out, getting all hot and heavy, while out in the woods we see a couple of men wearing military camouflage, and heavily armed, searching for, as one of them says, “an escaped mental patient.” And that’s when Jason appears, machete in hand, and slices one of the men in half (right down the middle), and then punches the other man’s head off (literally). We flashback to two months prior, at the mansion of a wealthy brother and sister, Miles and Laura, who inherited the land around Crystal Lake from their deceased father, who owned it for decades. They had been planning to build a luxury resort in the area, but their construction night was demolished one night, costing them millions and potentially derailing the whole project. Miles doesn’t believe the “rumors” about Jason Voorhees haunting those woods, but Laura does, and she decides to hire a team of mercenaries to go into the woods and hunt him down for good.
So back in the present, the rest of the stories flashes back and forth between scenes of various mercenaries hunting Jason, and the teenagers in the van trying to have sex (the girl keeps hearing things, but the boy doesn’t pay attention to that, and just keeps trying to get her naked). Despite their military weapons, the mercenaries prove to be no match for Jason. We get to see him killing in creative ways, including ripping one mercenary’s heart out with his bar hand, and slices another one in half with his own gun. Jason takes many, MANY hits from bullets in this comic, but just keeps going. There’s one interesting scene, something I don’t think has ever been shown in the movies, where Jason takes a direct hit from a grenade, which blows out a large chunk of his upper body. But as the mercenary who threw it at him watches, we see Jason’s flesh regenerate and regrow. Jason clearly has some kind of resurrection powers that enable him to keep returning from the dead, but that seemed like a bit much.
Near the end, the two storylines combine, as the teenagers find themselves in the middle of the carnage and are hunted by Jason as well. And Laura herself makes the big mistake of tagging along on the hunt, riding along with the mercenary leaders in a helicopter gunship that gets Jason in its sights. But not even a helicopter can take down Jason. SPOILER ALERT: Everybody dies!
Pretty good story for a one-off. It sets the tone of Jason as a brutal killer, that isn’t entirely mindless, as evidenced by the creative ways he stalks and kills the mercenaries. Wolfer illustrates the story beautifully, not holding back much in portraying the violence and gore, with amble shots of the teen girl’s bare breasts also mixed in. And Pulido’s writing is solid, he slips in a quick recap of Jason’s orgin for any newbies, and compares the single-mindedness of Jason’s murderous mission with Laura’s obsession with destroying Jason so she can redeem her father’s memory, by building on the land. The question mark in the story is, as I mentioned early, is it primarily referred to as Lake Crystal, except for at the end, when the caption says Camp Crystal Lake? But that’s a minor nitpick. I enjoyed this book.
Unfortunately, this issue, and the other Avatar Friday The 13th comics, are out of print, and not available digitally, which makes it hard to find. Some (expensive) used copies can be found on AMAZON or MYCOMICSHOP.COM.